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Rson scientific expedition of its own What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to uestion what it means to be huma. What is a life worth living and what is a life wasted and why What is worth dying for what is worth living for and why What shall I teach my child to value and what shall I urge that child to avoid and why What am I owed by others and what do I owe others and why Each human culture provides a different set of answers to those uestions but deity is nearly always embedded in the Why The above uote is from Mary Doria Russell in her Afterword of this brilliant novel I think they sum up perfectly the very same uestions that I found myself grappling with while reading this Russell certainly won’t give you any answers to these uestions but she will give you plenty of intellectual food for thought I admit to lying awake many nights in the past pondering the uestions of the universe but of late I knew the answers would not come so I set aside such contemplation Russell managed to reawaken such reflections I won’t get into the details of the plot; just suffice to say that on the surface The Sparrow is about a first contact made with another planet It appears to be a science fiction novel; therefore non lovers of the genre may mistakenly steer away from this However this is so much than the introduction to an alien species Sure we have the opportunity to meet these but in reality it isn’t all that different from making contact with another culture; albeit one that is completely unfamiliar to us More than a physical journey the characters in this novel are on a spiritual journey The character development is superb Father Emilio Sandoz is a Jesuit priest but wait don’t run away uite yet He is someone that you will not be able to get out of your head once you see his soul bared to you in all of its most human components The way the novel is structured we are taken back and forth in time from post mission to the preparation for the mission as well as to the mission itself We know from the outset that Emilio Sandoz is tormented and my heart broke for him What could possibly have happened to this man that has turned him into such a tortured human being Aside from Emilio Sandoz there are a number of other characters that are a pleasure to get to know Perhaps my two favorites were Anne and George in their sixties and happily married Anne doesn’t buy into the whole idea of a God but that doesn’t stop her from sustaining a valuable and close friendship with Emilio The two are sounding boards for each other’s beliefs and doubts and their conversations are priceless Anne is very spirited and her thoughts on marriage are another source of wisdom for any reader that is so inclined to glean a bit thought about this institution as well At one point she says People change Cultures change Empires rise and fall Shit Geology changes Every ten years or so George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we’ve had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people Anyone with a spouse can likely relate to this I know it certainly made me consider my own relationship I could carry on about this for uite some time but I don’t think I can really do the book justice There is a lot to ponder here My mind is beginning to spin into those dizzying heights that leave me feeling rather breathless and inarticulate Much like the feeling I get when my son drags me onto some of those terrifying yet thrilling rollercoaster rides that he is wild for All I can say is that you don’t have to be a religious person to read this book You don’t have to be a science fiction devotee But if you have ever stopped to consider what is out there that is bigger than yourself and what role we as humans play in this universe then you might want to give some serious thought to reading this book For my part I am not done with Father Emilio Sandoz’s journey and will continue on with Children of God the seuel to this one We need not choose one kind of majesty forsaking all others

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The SparrowIn 2019 humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exuisite singing from a planet that will come. I had wanted to read The Sparrow since its release back in 19961997 I had seen a review of it and loved the basic idea of future Jesuits being the first “missionaries” to make contact with the first sentient alien species discovered But I lost that review and was never able to figure out the name of the book or the author I tried to discover it everywhere I went and all those I asked were oblivious I really thought I would have no trouble tracking it down but I couldn’t so after a while I gave upNow over ten years later I discovered Mary Doria Russell’s masterpiece and am disappointed that I didn’t read it sooner I feared many times over while reading The Sparrow that my disappointment would be completeThe Sparrow is so good you see that as I moved from moment to moment following Father Emilio Sandoz’s broken narrative I was sure that there was no way Russell could deliver on the promise of her writing It was so good it was great and I worried that it was too good to maintain its level throughout Experience with much literary disappointment was steeling me for a let downCreating Suspense One of the things Russell did was to create suspense in the story with all the skill and techniue of Alfred Hitchcock Hitchcock provided an example of how to craft suspense in an interview many years ago relating this scenario show the audience a bomb being planted under the seat in the witness stand then bring the witness in and have him take a seat The man goes on answering uestions going through the action we expect of him totally oblivious to what is coming thus letting the audience worry about the bomb The audience wonders when the bomb will go off Who will the bomb injure Is there a chance for the man to be saved How will he be saved How will he die And the audience’s tension rises for every minute that ticks by without a resolutionIt’s a cinematic version of dramatic irony and Russell is a master of her own prose version We the audience are positioned as the tribunal of Jesuits listening to Father Sandoz’s history of the mission to Rakhat but we are given droplets of information ahead of our brethren that none but Sandoz and Father General Guiliani have access to These droplets set up Russell’s entire narrative structure making the story compulsively readable by piuing our need to know our need to understand how these terrible things we know must happen actually happenedComplete Characters But this need to turn pages this desire Russell kindled in me to know it all and know it all as uickly as possible was steadily tempered by my desire to stay with the characters she crafted I didn’t want to leave Emilio Sandoz to his torment; I wanted to prolong my stay in his presence I wanted to remain with Anne and George DW Marc Robichaux Sophia Jimmy Father Behr Father Candotti Father Reyes Father General Guiliani and even Father Voelker and the Jana’ata trader Supaari I wanted to stay with them so much that I found myself slowing down my reading setting the book aside even while another part of my mind tugged me back to turn the pagesThe reason was how deeply Russell made me feel her people They were real for me in a way that few characters have been reallyit’s only my favourite books that have achieved what Russell achieved character being important to me than anything Their decisions made sense their love for one another made sense their desires and cares their anger and frustration their actions and reactions They were real and true And I felt them as though they were real people in my worldMorality Then there was The Sparrow's struggle with morality I am not a moral person; but I am an highly ethical one and Russell’s management of the big moral uestions moved me Contemporary or futuristic moral struggles in literature often bore me or even anger me with their preachiness or closed minded simplicity but not the struggles of the priests in The Sparrow These men were struggling with their morality and their God in passionate energetic complex and vital ways And the heart of the struggle was Emilio Sandoz the man who loved his God the deepest and had his faith and love shattered in the worst possible waysHe described the struggle best when he said “That is my dilemma Because if I was led by God to love God step by step as it seemed if I accept that the beauty and the rapture were real and true the rest of it was God’s will too and that gentlemen is cause for bitterness But if I am simply a deluded ape who took a lot of old folktales far too seriously then I brought all this on myself and my companions and the whole business becomes farcical doesn’t it”This meditation on responsibility is pivotal for all of the characters’ morality not just the Jesuits but this pivot is most emotionally raw for Father Sandoz and his position as our narrator makes his struggle to some extent our ownDisappointment I expected that all this excellence was too good to be true I expected Russell to lose her nerve in the end to take the easy route of evil thereby absolving all of the missionaries from their own responsibilities based on the scapegoating of the VaRakhati specifically the Jana’ata And for one moment during one act of Jana’ata brutality I thought she had done what I feared but Russell stood fast and said what needed to be said through Sandoz “There are no beggars on Rakhat There is no unemployment There is no overcrowding No starvation No environmental degradation There is no genetic disease The elderly do not suffer decline Those with terminal illness do not linger They pay a terrible price for this system but we too payand the coin we use is the suffering of children How many kids starved to death this afternoon while we sat here Just because their corpses aren’t eaten doesn’t make our species any moral”This moment is an act of true authorial bravery solidifying The Sparrow's place in my pantheon of books while ensuring that no disappointment could taint Russell's fine workThere are uibblous moments in the book that stroked my fur backwards such as Russell’s tendency to focus on her characters joyous moments of laughter and rejoicing I’ve never seen people laugh so much or so easily as the Jesuit missionaries and their party except in a Guy Gavriel Kay novel or the veneration of Anne by every being she met but these are meaningless when faced with the triumphs of The SparrowI could go on discussing linguistics the clear link between Mary Doria Russell and the great Ursula LeGuin the subtly handled science the concepts of culture and race the manifestations of violence rape prostitution art love and scent but all of that would be superfluous As is most of what I have written Suffice to say that The Sparrow is a masterpiece that Russell will likely never better I wish I had written her words And I hope to meet her one day so I can thank her properly for the experience

Mary Doria Russell ¸ 5 Summary

Free download The Sparrow æ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free å In 2019 humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exuisite singing from a planet that will come to be known as Rakhat While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission the SoTo be known as Rakhat While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission the Society of Jesus uietly organizes an eight pe. What a strange accomplished nautilus of a novel every chamber containing both joy and tragedy